The Republican National Committee and the state Republican party need to stir up a "ground game" and lots of cash in order to put a Republican back on Pennsylvania Avenue come 2012, says new RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
On Wednesday, the newly appointed Republican National Committee Chairman visited the North Carolina GOP headquarters in Raleigh to make an appeal to donors at a fundraising event.
"We're coming into a presidential election cycle and we all know that North Carolina is going to be a battleground state," said Priebus to a small crowd of mostly elderly North Carolinians. "Republicans in this country, Republicans in Washington and Republicans right here, need to make sure that Barack Obama is a one-term president."
Citing his success as the former Wisconsin GOP Chairman, Priebus said the state GOP needs to follow Wisconsin's model to win in 2012. That means "quality on the field," money and a tremendous amount of work."
I'm not here before you because I have some incredible worry about the future of the Republican party," said Priebus. "We're here because you're worried about the future of this country."
This comes at a time when President Barack Obama's polling numbers are the highest they have been since June of 2009, reports the Raleigh-based firm Public Policy Poling. Political experts think North Carolina will be a battleground state in the coming presidential election. Just last week, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the newly appointed Democratic National Committee chairwoman made a stop Raleigh to speak with Obama campaign volunteers. The state went Democratic in 2008 for the first time since 1976 when it voted for Southerner Jimmy Carter. Obama's win has been credited to his strong grass roots effort here which took Republicans by surprise until it was too late.
"You can't just come in after the fact and say 'Hey, I wanna hold everyone accountable,'" said Priebus during a Q & A with the audience after his speech.
In an interview after the event, North Carolina GOP Chairman Robin Hayes would not say whether his party is planning any large events to counter the Democratic convention that will be held in his state next year.
"We are welcoming them and the money that they bring to the economy. But it's also an opportunity for us to highlight the incredible differences between the parties," he said. "This is the Superbowl and we will be ready."
"North Carolina is critically important," said Hayes, "and we're very optimistic about our chances."
Priebus will also speak at a GOP fundraising event in Greensboro on Wednesday evening.